The Customer Is The Channel

The customer-centric blog of Linc Global

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5 Reasons Retailer's Should Optimize The Live Chat Experience

 

With a plethora of channels demanding attention, aggressive revenue targets to hit and customer expectations growing by the day, why should retailers invest resources in Live Chat (Webchat) vs. any of the other customer engagement priorities requiring focus and budget dollars?

Deliver better CX and meet evolving customer expectations

To say that customer experience is the defining competitive differentiator for brands today feels like a cliche at this point, but like most cliches, it’s rooted in well-worn truth. Brands that provide a multi-channel customer experience (CX) significantly outperform those without when you look at customer retention, which in turn trickles down to increased customer lifetime value and a lower outlay on new customer acquisition

Research from HubSpot shows that 90% of customers now expect an “immediate” response when they raise a customer service issue with your brand. Live Chat can help you scale to meet rising customer expectations and deliver outstanding CX by ensuring a consistent customer journey across touchpoints and providing intelligent interactions based on an individual’s shopping history, while also giving your customers the aforementioned immediate response. With half of customers already saying they want customer service to be chat/text/messaging based and 44% preferring to deal directly with an intelligent assistant, embracing your customers’ expectations means leveraging live chat.

This is especially true if your target market includes anyone 40 or under. There are over 75M Millennials in the US alone, they represent a combined  annual purchasing power of over $200B and their use of technology is one of this generation’s defining features. The fluidity with which Millennials move from channel to channel and the priority they place on immediacy, convenience and real-time engagement makes live chat via intelligent assistant an ideal means for retailers to connect with this audience. 60% of Millennials have already engaged with chatbots in some capacity and 70% of them report that the experience was positive.

Put simply, live chat is a scalable, cost-effective means to engage with your customers on their terms and deliver greater customer care consistency and a higher quality customer experience.

Cut customer care costs

Linc’s own research shows that 55% of retailers report that they’re experiencing an increase in customer care costs. No matter their size, brands are looking for ways to more effectively serve customers without eating into often razor-thin profit margins. Live Chat isn’t a silver bullet of course, but, deployed smartly, it can help you maximize your existing customer care resources by effectively resolving up to 70% of your customers’ most common inquiries. Implemented at scale, this frees up your human agents to handle the more complex, time-consuming cases that require personal attention.

Hear from your customers in their own words

Think about the last receipt you received. Odds are that if it was from anywhere other than a stand-alone boutique or a mom and pop operation, it included an invitation (more like a plea) to go online and rate your experience with the brand, with the enticement that you could win a giftcard or a free burger for sharing your thoughts. And, if you’re like most of your shoppers, you probably never gave this low-effort attempt at gaining customer feedback a second thought. Your customers are inundated with requests to share their opinions, leave reviews and rank their interactions, but most of these requests just register as noise. 

Live Chat can help you cut through the noise and gives you direct access to your customers’ thoughts in their own words. What are their most common questions? Where are the biggest points of friction or frustration in dealing with your brand? How do they talk about your products? Mining your chat transcripts can help you efficiently uncover and respond to trends in your business and weak points in your customer care in a powerful, direct way that surveys and Net Promoter Scores never can. You get the truth straight from your customers’ mouths (or fingertips) with no need to cajole or offer incentives.

Increase conversions and customer lifetime value

If you aren’t using live chat as part of your customer care and marketing and sales strategies, you’re leaving money on the table. Data from Forrester shows that visitors to your ecommerce site who use web chat are almost three times more likely to convert than ones who don’t. Thinking beyond one-off sales, customers who are engaged with your brand, spend more (a lot more) than those who don’t. According to Gallup, engaged customers represent a 23% premium over average or unengaged customers when it comes to wallet share, profitability, revenue and relationship growth. You need to give customers as many low-friction ways to engage with you on their terms as possible to create loyalty. Live Chat represents a vital channel to leverage in this quest.

You can learn more about the enhancing and optimizing the Live Chat customer experience and how automating the shopper experience can engage your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using an automated shopper assistance platform as part of their customer experience strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.

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